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The Black Prism

(Lightbringer #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  113,009 ratings  ·  5,672 reviews
Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay
Hardcover, 629 pages
Published August 25th 2010 by Orbit
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Bodi Yuhico I hated the Way of Shadows: especially because of it's immaturity, it's characters' immaturity, the treatment of women, the inconsistent magic system …moreI hated the Way of Shadows: especially because of it's immaturity, it's characters' immaturity, the treatment of women, the inconsistent magic system and the way most of the plot seems to have been made up as it went along.

The Lightbringer series shows just exactly how Weeks has progressed as a writer. ALL the things I hated in Way of Shadows have been resolved. It's an incredibly well-thought out series, kind of reminiscent to Brandon Sanderson.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Damon Dickons The knife used by Kip and only a few others was called the Blinding Knife. My theory on this is because it grows along with it's owner's abilities (Ki…moreThe knife used by Kip and only a few others was called the Blinding Knife. My theory on this is because it grows along with it's owner's abilities (Kip's abilities) and that it is called the Blinding Knife also because it takes away the colours that the person who was stabbed can draft while transfering them to the blade.(less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Update: It's a bit sad (but not really surprising) that I have to defend my position after giving multiple examples especially after plenty of other people have come forward and agreed.

I'm not going to argue with people who haven't read the book (seriously?). There's a huge difference between a sexist world/character and a sexist author.

An author is able to create a fantasy world with a different map, magic system, religion but can't help himself and has to respect the status quo about sexism. I
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Updated 2020 rating 4.5/4
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars

An incredibly original and entertaining start to a memorable high fantasy series.

The Black Prism, the first book in Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, was one of my first forays into an adult high-fantasy novel. I can’t honestly say that I’ve been a devout follower of this series since its conception; The Black Prism was first published in 2010 and I started this series almost exactly three years ago, all the way back in October 2016; it was near the release date of the fourth book o
Andrew Obrigewitsch
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This book is really tough for me to rate. The story is a flintlock fantasy. With some really brilliant ideas, a very interesting plot, cool magic system and great action.

"So what's wrong with it?" You may ask, other than the fact that the narrator made the main character sound like a surfer dude.

Well the problem with Brent Weeks' writing is that you feel like you are being told a story by a very creative and imaginative 15 year old boy, with no real life experience and not a lot of study under
Petros Triantafyllou
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Petros by: Ojo
You know you are reading a masterpiece when out of 95 chapters and 5 different POVs, not even one is slightly boring. I have heard a lot of things about Brent Weeks' second trilogy, and most of them have been proved true so far. He has grown up as an author, improving not only his prose and narration but his imagination as well.

"You might want to think twice before you try to use a man's conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn't have one."

The Black Prism is absolutely a work of art. The
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Weeks fans, fans of epic fantasy
Recommended to carol. by: everybody
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
Let's be honest; I've been dreading reading this. Why? Because The Night Angel Trilogy ended up a broken promise. Good beginning, steady decline in the quality of characterization and plotting, and, need I mention, a sexist hot mess? At any rate, Weeks seems to have been going for something different here, or at least something more developed--say perhaps, Epic--and it works much better.

Except it's so damn conscious of being epic that I roll my eyes just looking at it--that heft! The matte blac
Update 4/8/20:

Yet another re-read! Yes! Three times now!

Could I be a fanboy? Possibly? Maybe even more so after reading the fifth book recently? Wanting to revisit the entire series from the start?

Yep. And I LOVED it. Again. So many changes. So many plot twists. So MUCH. To. Love.

Not to mention how beautiful all the visualizations are. It's like this book was written just for me to see in my mind. :)

Update 10/15/17
Re-Read with buddies!
This is one of my favorite epic fantasy series ever and upon
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Apr 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
A strong entry to a series with a fun magic system, but falters towards the end

Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

The Black Prism is a very good book that showed incredible promise through the first half. It leaves me frustrated because the back half of the book has some significant faults that hurt what would have otherwise been an incredible book.

The magic system in this book is incredibly uniq
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Let me write a short review here and then do a side note.

I loved the characters of Kip and Gavin and a few others. I really want to continue on with their story and see where it goes. Especially when I read the part about Gavin and his brother. Uh, mind blown.

There was a part at the beginning of the book that just put me off (and don't ask) and I'm just getting irritated with stuff like that.

Soooooo many of my friends love these books and some are just okay with them. I do have the other curr
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Today we're going to talk about something that every reviewer lives at least once in its reading career, that I will call the Is It Too Early To Dnf Syndrome®.

That syndrome sucks big time.

1) Your ereader is failing you, and doesn't count the percentages anymore : don't get it back to the store yet! You're only bored. I know, it's tricky. Sanderson's fans might not show this symptom though : if you like long ass descriptions of how a magic system works, well lucky you, you may not meet boredom (
Dana Ilie
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is a book that I would highly recommend due to its commitment to the pace and knowledge of further books to come. The Black Prism ends on a cliffhanger that sets up the next book quite well. I definitely look forward to returning to the colorful (so clever) world that Brent Weeks has created. The writing is good, the characters engaging and realistic, and the way magic is used is not only unique in its utilitarian application but also the variety of ways in which it is utilized.
I went into this book knowing very little besides that it's a well loved series and the magic is based on colors. We follow about 5 different characters throughout the book, with 2 being the real main characters: Gavin and Kip. The book drops you into the world and the story without much explanation for anything, so it took me some time to figure out the ins and outs of the world. The magic, while interesting, was something I also wasn't really able to visualize until towards the end of this fir ...more
Sean Barrs
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brandon Sanderson fans
What Brent Weeks has painted here is nothing short of marvellous.

It’s a beautifully rich fantasy universe with an awe-inspiring amount of world-building and colour behind it. There’s just so much detail that truly brought the world to life for me.

The Black Prism has a fantastic magic system. I thought Brandon Sanderson was the only writer of fantasy who could create such cool and intricate systems. I was wrong. Brent Weeks’ system based on colour and light can match anything Sanderson has
May 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2021, fantasy
2.5 stars

I've been wanting to read this book for the longest time and sadly, while I clearly see the potential, I'm disappointed. I was excited when it got picked as the book of the month in the book club I'm in because I finally had the motivation to read it. It checked all the marks yet the sexism, a good portion of the characters, and the inconsistent pace affected my reading experience negatively.

The best thing about this book is definitely the magic system. It's unique and well-developed.

Luna. ✨
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Well, Brent Weeks, you got me. You sucked me in to your polychromatic world, and now I’m going to have to read everything else you’ve written. The Black Prism is the first book in the Lightbringer series, an epic fantasy series with a color-based magic system. There was a truly varied and interesting cast of characters: Kip, a chubby, awkward teenager who has always been a bit of an outcast; Gavin Guile, the Prism and the Most Interesting Man in the World; and Karris, Gavin’s smoking hot bodygua ...more
Crys Harris
Dec 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I am just less than half way through this book and I am not enjoying it. The writing is fine. In fact, Brent Weeks may have developed a bit more dexterity with his prose since the Night Angel trilogy. The problem, so far, is two-fold.

1) Nothing much is happening. I'm not intrigued, drawn in, excited, or even really interested. There is political intrigue at work, but it isn't compelling. There is magic afoot, but it is hard to be in awe of it. I don't even care where this is headed.

2) I don't c
Sep 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
I DUNNNOOOOOO. First, I really enjoyed Brent Weeks' other series A LOT, so I was excited about this coming out, and seeing the blurb about the magic system, I was sooo psyched.

I feel like this series was kinda a throwback to like Eddings and Feist and Jordan and those old-school EPIC fantasy series. I have to admit I wasn't really hooked by the characters as much as I would have liked, but overall I ADMIRE what the author is setting up. I guess my biggest beef, other than really not liking the
Merphy Napier
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, four-stars, adult
Here's my video review: https://youtu.be/zjPcwnh5ZeI ...more
FrEEEEEk-in' fantastic!!! This is really all that must be said, but of course I will say more. Many people that review this book will take the time to recap the plot and give you some character intros, so I am taking the lazy man's road and skipping anything remotely informative about the book itself in my review.

Instead, I will tell of how I felt throughout the book. One of the main objectives in reading is to think and feel something, right? A good book will make you think in circles of confus
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-fantasy, fantasy
I originally set the rating of this book at 4 stars, but decided it needed to be moved up to the 5 star level. I don't find it as good as many of the books I rate 5 stars, but it drew me in and held me tells a story that beats 4 stars. So, without the much lamented 4.5 that so many of us here pine for, I've rated it 5.

So, I like the book and give it the highest rating possible here (albeit noting it's not at the top of my 5 star pile)...what's so good about it? And, if it's not at the top of the
The Black Prism is the first installment in Brent Weeks' second series called Lightbringer. It's an Epic Fantasy with some of the typical ingredients you would expect, but all is kind of twisted to the author's unique style and your enjoyment of the book will highly depend on how much that style works for you.

In total we're following 7 characters, 2 of them being the main protagonists, 2 with a decent amount of "screen-time" and 3 with only a few chapters.
The first of the two main characters is
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All power is a test.

I wouldn't have picked this series up if it wasn't for my friend and buddy-reader, Brad, being a fanboy. To put it in his words: this isn't reinventing the wheel (aka doing something completely new) but it's one of the best popcorn-fiction (fantasy) out there.

This world has a weird magic system. Colours mean magical power. There are drafters who can manipulate a colour or two, shape tools or weapons with them. Every colour means something different (green being wild, red
Deborah Obida
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, fantasy
This book is so slow at the beginning, almost nothing happened for the first 200 pages, before things picked up and revelations started blowing my mind. I didn’t like the way the author explains the magic system, when you’re reading a very interesting part of the book and one of the characters starts drafting(i.e the magic), the author will stop the dialogue and start explaining the magic, that was done throughout the book, I still don’t know the limits of the magic. The battle scenes in this bo ...more
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Wow just wow... So many great fantasy novels I've been stumbling upon lately. I usually reserve the high expectations for any Brandon Sanderson novel, but I was amazed by the beauty and fluidity in Brian McClellan books, and now this evil genius Brent Weeks comes along... Sure, he needs to work on his description capabilities, since several of my friends and I had the exact same comments about the exact same parts then I doubt that we all lack the imagination. Other than that, pure evil genius.. ...more
Kitty G Books
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-read for me, but I am oh so happy to be back in this world which I first encountered in 2015. As the series draws to its close (book #5 is due out later this year) I decided to do a #LightbringerSeriesReread to re-familiarise myself with the world, characters and magic. It turns out I still remembered the majority of the magic, and yet going back to the series I found it so much easier from the start to actually 'get' what was happening because I had that bit more familiarity. I thi ...more
David Sven
Well paced. Deceptively complex plot, characters and history. Unique and well defined magic system. Intriguing mysteries to be solved. Rewards those who pay attention to detail, which also gives it reread value to catch those details that were skimmed or dismissed the first time round. Held my attention. Surprised me quite a few times. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The magic system in this book, called Chromaturgy, is second to nothing I’ve read to date – and that includes Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, w
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Light cannot be chained."

To say the Lightbringer series has been on my TBR list for a while would be a huge understatement. A few months ago I noticed the last book in the series was coming out this year, and I knew it was time to finally delve into this once and for all.

The setting of this story is a land called The Seven Satrapies. A satrapy is basically a province that is governed by a person known as a satrap. The Chromeria is the ruling body of the Seven Satrapies, and also wh
Mar 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
A long winded story that resolves around an abused soldier. Hard to understand the point. 1 of 10 stars
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“You might want to think twice before you try to use a man’s conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn’t have one.”

When I first transitioned into reading Adult Fantasy novels, it was a bit overwhelming because there were a ton of books to read and although I have read a fair share of those books, there are some authors that I haven’t experienced the book of. Brent Weeks was one of those authors that kept popping to me in
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In a small-town Montana school at age 12, Brent Weeks met the two great loves of his life. Edgar Allan Poe introduced him to the power of literature to transcend time and death and loneliness. Fate introduced him to The Girl, Kristi Barnes. He began his pursuit of each immediately.

The novel was a failure. The Girl shot him down.

Since then–skipping the boring parts–Brent has written eight best-sell

Other books in the series

Lightbringer (5 books)
  • The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2)
  • The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)
  • The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)
  • The Burning White (Lightbringer, #5)

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